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Buddhism and medical futility

journal contribution
posted on 29.11.2018, 00:00 by TW Chan, Desley Hegney
Religious faith and medicine combine harmoniously in Buddhist views, each in its own way helping Buddhists enjoy a more fruitful existence. Health care providers need to understand the spiritual needs of patients in order to provide better care, especially for the terminally ill. Using a recently reported case to guide the reader, this paper examines the issue of medical futility from a Buddhist perspective. Important concepts discussed include compassion, suffering, and the significance of the mind. Compassion from a health professional is essential, and if medical treatment can decrease suffering without altering the clarity of the mind, then a treatment should not be considered futile. Suffering from illness and death, moreover, is considered by Buddhists a normal part of life and is everchanging. Sickness, old age, birth, and death are integral parts of human life. Suffering is experienced due to the lack of a harmonious state of body, speech, and mind. Buddhists do not believe that the mind is located in the brain, and, for Buddhists, there are ways suffering can be overcome through the control of one’s mind.

History

Volume

9

Issue

4

Start Page

433

End Page

438

Number of Pages

6

eISSN

1872-4353

ISSN

1176-7529

Publisher

Springer Netherlands

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

27/08/2012

External Author Affiliations

National University of Singapore; Curtin University

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

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